Why did social media go down? Reason behind Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram outage revealed

Why did social media go down? Reason behind Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram outage revealed
(Image credit: Getty)

Billions of users across the world were left unable to use Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram for several hours, last night. But why did social media go down? Facebook has explained the reason behind the huge outage.

What happened to Facebook?

Facebook suffered an unexpected outage to its platform last night, which resulted in users being unable to access their profiles, receiving an error message which read, 'This site can't be reached' and details explaining that the Facebook IP address could not be found.

The platforms crashed on Monday afternoon, with users unable to send or receive messages or refresh their news feeds.


(Image credit: Getty)

In a Facebook post after the service had been restored, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg wrote, 'Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger are coming back online now.

'Sorry for the disruption today - I know how much you rely on our services to stay connected with the people you care about.'

Twitter was quick to poke fun at its return following the outage.

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And brands like Levis, also poked fun at a plan b should the systems go down again. It tweeted, 'Okay, here's the plan - if Twitter goes down see you on TikTok in 5'.

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But security experts believe an inadvertent mistake or sabotage by an insider was both plausible reasons for the unprecedented outage.

Why did social media go down last night?

Social media platforms Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram went down last night following a 'faulty configuration change', according to chief executive Mark Zuckerberg.

Users across the world, from North and South America, Europe, Australia, Russia, and New Zealand were said to be affected by the outage.

Anyone trying to send WhatsApp messaged to their loved ones had the message sit in the unsent state - with the Clock icon at the side, which means that you haven't sent the message yet instead of the usual tick and double tick for sent and received.

Facebook said, 'To all the people and businesses around the world who depend on us, we are sorry for the inconvenience caused by today's outage across our platforms.

"We've been working as hard as we can to restore access, and our systems are now back up and running.

"The underlying cause of this outage also impacted many of the internal tools and systems we use in our day-to-day operations, complicating our attempts to quickly diagnose and resolve the problem.

"Our engineering teams have learned that configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centres caused issues that interrupted this communication.

It continued, "This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centres communicate, bringing our services to a halt.

"Our services are now back online and we're actively working to fully return them to regular operations.

"We want to make clear at this time we believe the root cause of this outage was a faulty configuration change.

"We also have no evidence that user data was compromised as a result of this downtime."

Meanwhile, some users believe the outages were planned, one Twitter user wrote, 'Hands up who thinks the Facebook, Messenger, Instagram & WhatsApp outages were planned?'

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Did Facebook lose money?

As a result of the several hour's outages of Facebook, which has nearly two billion daily users, shares in the social media platform, dropped 4.9% lower on Monday, which cost the company $47bn (£34.5bn) off its market value.

Facebook outage shares fall

And it's another blow to the firm after whistleblower Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product manager, leaked documents to the Wall Street Journal which exposed the company's awareness of harms caused by its products and decisions.

She went public on CBS's 60 Minutes programme on Sunday and is scheduled to testify before a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday.

Selina Maycock
Senior Entertainment Writer

Selina is a Senior Entertainment Writer for Goodto.com, Woman&Home, and My Imperfect Life with more than 16 years of experience in newspapers and magazines. She currently writes a mix of Entertainment news - including baby news, weddings, reporting the the latest news about the Royal kids Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet as well as Family news stories. Before joining Future Publishing, Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism. She is fully NCTJ and NCE qualified and has 100wpm shorthand. When she's not interviewing celebrities you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories.